Well done, but I’d like to point out one thing. Women have only been treated like property by men for the past 10,000 years (when the social system of patriarchy began). Prior to that time, women had a very equal social position, and sometimes a superior one. It’s a false cultural narrative that it’s always been this way. I’m not blaming you for believing it. It’s overwhelmingly what people believe because it’s what they’ve been led to believe by a patriarchal system that wants to keep justifying itself. But, I also want to spread the word that for most of human history we’ve lived quite differently because I think it opens up the possibilities for change even further when we understand that.

Below are a few excerpts from some of my writing to that end:

There is a growing consensus among anthropologists that we evolved not as monogamous dyads but as cooperative breeders. The culturally strong image of the brave pre-historic hunter bringing home the bacon to his mate who is waiting to be provided for is really just a cultural myth. For most of human history, small bands of men and women raised young collectively, and almost certainly mated with multiple partners.

Meat was a very small portion of the diet of Paleolithic peoples. As such, female gatherers were central to the survival and well-being of the tribe. They weren’t sitting at home, tending the fire and the children, waiting for their one mate to provide for them. That’s a very recent and geographically specific dynamic.

Far from being a universal and timeless societal dynamic, man as provider and head of a two-parent family is simply an extension of one recent and distinct type of culture made possible by certain conditions. How that incorrectly became codified as universal and scientifically enshrined is the topic of another story. I hope to have it available soon.

As someone who has spent the past 20 years or so studying our current social system and the ones that came before it, it disturbs me to no end when I read things that indicate the belief that all cultures have always been this way, with men as the head of the family and that patriarchy is ubiquitous. Quite often these comments are being made by progressive people who are advocating for a more egalitarian world. What they don’t seem to realize is that for most of human history, that is exactly what we had.

For 97% of human history, paternity was not that important, and consequently, women had a lot of sexual freedom. Descent was marked through mothers and not fathers. Even though pair bonding and marriage were part of the social structure, strict sexual exclusivity was not expected for women. That only came into being relatively recently when our social system became patrilineal. That’s not what we were taught, but what we were taught was wrong.

The Standard Model of Human Evolution has myriad data points that do not support it. From the shape of the human penis to the fact that women are not naturally monogamous; from our history as primarily matrilineal cultures, as well as the thousands of years when female sexual non-exclusivity was actually a part of religious worship — the world has only been arranged as it is now for the past 3% of human history. It is neither biologically nor evolutionarily necessary.

All the more reason for strong women to own that in the workplace!

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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